PubMed | Medscape
Also known as extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP), is a form of apheresis
therapy. It involves light-activated treatment of
circulating blood cells outside the body.
"Photopheresis may act by modifying the
patient's own immune response to his/her disease. On this basis, the
therapy is being extended to graft vs. host disease, organ
transplantations, and early scleroderma and other autoimmune
Click to enlarge image on americasblhttp://ood.org
1) The patient ingests a light-activatable drug,
2) An IV (intravenous) line is placed in the
patient, a drug called psoralen is sometimes given.
3) Blood is temporarily removed from the patients.
White blood cells are separated out and then mixed outside the
body with the patient's plasma, saline, heparin, and
8-methoxyposoralen. The preparation is then passed through a
device where it is exposed to ultraviolet light.
4) The treated mixture and untreated blood is
combined and returned to the patient. The procedure takes
approximately 4 hours.
Adapted from emedicine.com
"The process of apheresis involves removal of whole blood from a patient or donor. Within an instrument that is essentially designed as a centrifuge, the components of whole blood are separated. One of the separated portions is then withdrawn and the remaining components are re-transfused into the patient or donor."
Photopheresis was first used as a treatment of
cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). It is now also administered to
treat autoimmune diseases, solid organ transplant rejection, and